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Legislature approves budget without sales tax

By Howard Fischer

Phoenix, AZ – State lawmakers gave final approval early this morning to a new
budget. But it isn't the one the governor wants.

The spending plan is similar to one the Republican-controlled
Legislature enacted early last month, one that Gov. Jan Brewer
said cut spending too much. This one restores some funding for
health and social service programs like Kids Care which provides
subsidized health coverage for the children of working poor.

Brewer still didn't like the plan but said she would approve it
on one condition -- if lawmakers put put a measure
on the November ballot asking voters to hike the state sales tax
by a penny. Brewer said the billion dollars a year it would raise
would help restore some cuts to education, health and public
safety programs. House Speaker Kirk Adams said he and Senate
President Bob Burns kept up their end of the bargain: They did
the best they could to round up Republican votes.

(I'm telling you, unless we would have hypnotized people, we did
everything that we could to convince people to support the
governor's proposal for the tax referral. And short of the body
snatchers returning, the votes were simply not there.)

The governor's staffers said she is still reviewing the nine
bills that make up the budget they did send her and will make a
decision shortly whether to veto all or part of any of them.